Best practice for domain mapping

Hi, thought I'd float this out for comments and ideas.

If one uses subdomain multi-site setup I don't think this is and issue as you can CNAME a subdomain to the multi-site.

But is you use directory structure the you can't use CNAME without causing issues to e-mail as if you CNAME the @ record you force all the DNS records, including MX to the CNAME. So hence, correctly, domain mapping say map the A record (for @ & www) to the server IP address.

But my concern is that by 'hardcoding' the IP address of the server into hundreds or thousands of disparate DNS records is storing up trouble. What happens when you decide to move servers to another providers - you's have to asked you thousands of sites to change IP addresses!

I'm thinking that this implies, don't use directory structure is you are expecting sites you don't (directly) manage to link their domain to you.

Thoughts? Solutions?

  • Imperative Ideas

    I'm not sure I'm clear on your question.

    A CNAME points at an URL vs an A Name, which points at an IP address. If your deployment is so large that an IP change presents serious problems then you should probably be running a server with CPANEL installed, since there are tools for handling that sort of thing in bulk.

    In terms of WordPress though, subdirectories get an SEO boost from the primary domain. Subdomains do not. That is the only appreciable difference when deciding how to set it up.

  • Fullworks

    @imperative ideas perhaps I should clarify.

    A CNAME points at a URL vs an A-record. So to isolate from an potential IP change CNAMEs are good as you can tell users to point to a domain you control.

    This works fine for subdomains as you can CNAME 3600
    and still have custom MX records such as

    this allows the user of your multi-site to manage their e-mail independently of your mail server

    as soon as you do this
    @ CNAME 3600
    the MX record gets ignored, so if you did this then you would have to manage the MX records for your client on your DNS of

    so the correct way of redirecting a whole domain is without impacting other DNS entries
    @ A 3600

    So if you have 3,000 domain redirect to you and you decided that you need to change your hardware to cope, and when you go out to tender you decide your original hosting company isn't the best option in terms of cost or support, then you are stuck with a massive (impossible!) administration exercise to move to your new preferred provider.

    Cpanel can't help, it only operates within the IPs that the hosting company can provide and it can only operate on the domains you control, not your clients DNS records held on random hsotiong companies / registras.

    So, having typed this, I have now got it clear in my head, the issue isn't sub-domain versus directory. It is simply if your clients redirect whole domains (@ A ip) then you are going to have a migration issue if you move hosting companies.

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